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Junior doctors in England to strike for three days in June

Junior doctors in England to strike for three days in June

Junior doctors in England have announced a new 72-hour walkout in June after the latest round of government pay talks broke down.
The strike will take place between 07:00 on Wednesday 14 June and 07:00 on Saturday 17 June.

The British Medical Association (BMA) union, which represents doctors and medical students, said a government offer of a 5% rise was not "credible".

Ministers said pay talks could only continue if the strike was called off.

A government spokesperson called the new pay offer "fair and reasonable", and said it was "surprising and deeply disappointing" that the BMA had declared further strikes "while constructive talks were ongoing".

The BMA said it was willing to continue talks, and was hoping for a "credible offer" from the government.

This will be the third strike by junior doctors since the pay dispute began.

The BMA said strikes would take place "throughout summer" if the government did not change its position, with a minimum of three days of walkouts a month until its mandate expires in August.

The union has been asking for a 35% increase to make up for 15 years of below-inflation rises.

Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said the BMA had had three weeks of negotiations with the government but that ministers would not recognise "the scale of our pay erosion", which they said was equivalent to a 26% cut over the last 15 years.

This is the amount pay has fallen once inflation is taken into account, the BMA says.

NHS Providers, a membership organisation for NHS services, said the strikes would cause "major disruption" and it was "vital serious talks take place between the government and unions" to resolve the dispute.

Deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said: "We understand junior doctors feel they've been pushed to this point by factors including below-inflation pay uplifts and severe staffing shortages."

Last month, unions representing most - although not all - staff on one key type of NHS contract did agree to the government's latest pay offer of a 5% pay rise and a one-off payment of at least £1,655.

That did not cover doctors or dentists but did include many paramedics, physios, cleaners and porters - although members of both the nurses' union, the Royal College of Nurses (RCN), and Unite, which represents some ambulance staff, voted against it.

The government had been in talks with junior doctors in a bid to avert a third round of strike action after previous walkouts in March and April.

The language from the BMA and the government suggests both sides are a long way from agreement, with union representatives saying ministers will not accept the "fundamental reality" of the situation.

At the same time, their more senior colleagues - consultant doctors - are being balloted separately on industrial action in a vote which runs through until 27 June.

Junior doctors make up around half of all hospital doctors in England and a half of all GPs. The BMA represents over 46,000 junior doctors in the UK.

In Scotland, junior doctors have been offered a new 14.5% pay rise over a two-year period after negotiations with the Scottish government.

BMA Scotland said it would now consult its members, who voted in favour of strike action earlier this month, on the offer.

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